Major French wine styles: the Burgundy region

Major French wine styles

With their about 8 billion bottles of wine produced every year, the French wine history goes back to the 6th century BC. Rest assured that quite some quality wine is being produced in France. Over the centuries, several wine styles developed that are now being copied all over the world. Here are a few and their likes we have in our range. Previous month we talked about the Alsace region. This month a few words on wines from the Burgundy region.

Burgundy wines refer to the Burgundy region-Bourgogne in French- in eastern France where they are being produced. The Bourgogne is cuddled up in the valleys and slopes west of the Saône River, a tributary of the Rhône. This region is blessed with ideal weather conditions and a terroir (terrain) that is perfectly suited to produce the very best.

The vineyards of the Bourgogne region are home to two ‘Noble varieties’ that account for more than 80% of the vines planted; the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As a side note, the Pinot Noir (‘noir’ means ‘black’) has clear juice! The wines produced are mainly single varietal wines with unique aromatic expression. Both red and white come in a full range of color nuances. Do not be mislead by the possible light color of a red Bourgogne, you will be surprised by its power. Look for ‘Bourgogne’ on the label, you will hardly find reference to the grape. Whichever wine from the Bourgogne region is to become your favorite, be prepared for reaching deep in the pockets.

The southern part of this winegrowing region is also a showcase for Gamay grapes. We are now entering into the Beaujolais with only 1% of its wine production being white. The Beaujolais gained popularity for its Beaujolais nouveau, a wine produced in such a way that is ‘has’ to be drunk before Christmas of the year of harvest. Despite its popularity in the 90ties, the Nouveau has never reached any memorable top, nor sub-top. However, this appellation region brought forward 10 Cru’s that produce the very best you can get from the Gamay grape.

Both the Bourgogne and the Beaujolais produce red wines from thin skinned, low tannins, red grapes that will leave you lasting impressions. The rich whites are a must for at least one. As said before, do not bother finding the name of the grape on the label, it is just not there.

Actually, we have only been talking about three grapes, Pinot Noir (red), Gamay (red) and the white Chardonnay. Wine Kitz Nelson offers all three in their range and we are happy to answer any question you might have. Visit our store if you want to know more.